PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When Terrell Owens recently appeared in a fast food commercial talking about how much Philadelphia sports fans hate him, most around here had the same thought.
Though his time here was short, and ended poorly, Terrell Owens was probably the most popular athlete in the city at his peak. To this day, a good percentage of fans take Owens’ side in the TO vs. Donovan McNabb fiasco that was ultimately the cherry on top of the star wide receiver’s undoing with the Eagles.
“Well, you know what, I think I could have done some things differently. A lot of people, a lot of fans that have criticized the commercial it was really like I said—I have so much love for the city. And the hate part, it really wasn’t about what I did when I was there. It was more or less when I went to other teams and I came back as the opposition, that’s where that love-hate relationship came from,” Owens told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Tuesday.
Owens is appearing at the first annual Philly Sports Roast on Thursday, February 20th (tickets here) at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia. The event benefits All Hands Working, an organization that attempts to reduce the number of line of duty deaths and injuries directly related to firefighter health and wellness.
“So it really wasn’t actually all the hate that happened because and as a result of me doing the things that happened in the driveway and all that stuff. It was more or elss like anybody that comes to Philly and you’re on the other team, you’re going to hear it. Again, dude, I have so much respect and so much love for Philly that it goes unnoticed. I think a lot of fans don’t know that, and the fans that are listening to me now, like dude, I love you guys so much. Again, that was really why I came there is to help get to the Super Bowl. And dude, people now ask me, ‘what is the best team or best time that I had during the times that I played in my football career?’ And I tell them, it was the time, it was the short time, but it was my time in Philly. And there was a number of reasons that factor in me saying that and one of those reasons is Coach [Andy] Reid. That guy is such a great coach. He’s a players coach, I mean the teammates that I had, and I’m not just saying that just to be saying it because I’m on air, I really loved my time there in Philly,” Owens said.
Owens probably wasn’t the most popular guy in town when he ended up as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, but for some reason that seems like a much smaller blip on the radar than his team as an Eagle.
As for McNabb, Owens thinks it was jealousy that fueled the fire between them.
“Well, the thing is, I think a lot of people don’t really know—how things played out everybody is going to blame me and now I’m the scapegoat for me not being there and some of the things that played out. I knew at heart what was going on, kind of behind the scenes. I’ve talked to friends, I’ve talked to players, I’ve talked to coaches that really knew what happened and what transpired during my time there. My thing is, I had nothing but respect and love for Donovan [McNabb]. I think he felt kind of slighted at how honestly, at probably the way the team, well actually the city, just embraced me while I was there considering when he got drafted they [fans] didn’t want him there and things like that. And then when I came there and I played so well—I wasn’t trying to take away from Donovan’s limelight or anything when I came there,” Owens said. “I had pretty much my own celebrity somewhat, rock star status prior to coming there and when I got there and I added what I had to the team, that was really music to the city so to speak. So I don’t know what it was that he didn’t like or what he thought I was trying to do, but like I said, my intentions were sincere as far me as me coming there, wanting to play there, get to the Super Bowl which we ultimately did, and I think he got, you know I guess, annoyed on how the fans on game day—I would score. I could still hear those fans chanting my name, ‘TO, TO, TO, TO’. I can hear that like it was yesterday. And then, again, playoffs—main questions they asked him was ‘Are you guys gonna win, can you guys win without T.O?’ That had nothing, really—it did have something to do with me, but I wasn’t asking those questions. I think he kind of got upset and annoyed at the fact that he felt his skills were kind of being undermined as one of the reasons why they got to the Super Bowl.”
The McNabb/Reid era brought five NFC Championship games, but only one Super Bowl appearance, that they would lose to the Patriots, 24-21. Owens returned from an injury that kept him out of the playoffs until that point, to be the Eagles best player in the Super Bowl.
“A lot of the stuff that happened [during Super Bowl XXXIX], with him throwing up in the huddle, like dude, I didn’t even see any of that. I never even knew it until, it was probably like days after the game. I was just so focused on the task at hand, that I wasn’t really focused about that,” Owens said. “I was lined up on the right side, on our sideline, [Todd] Pinkston was on the other side and I remember Randall Gay was on me and Coach Reid called all-go. I came off the line, and I kind of played it to where I kind of used my injury as somewhat of a decoy while I was running my route. When he called that route, when he called that play, I beat Randall Gay so bad, I was probably behind him probably like three yards. In my mind I was like oh my God, this is a touchdown. I beat him, I look back and I look back and I’m like man, this is a touchdown. And Donovan threw the ball the other way, I can’t remember if Pinkston caught it or if it was incomplete. But as soon as he released the ball to throw it to the other side, I could hear my teammates on the sideline. They was like, oh my gosh! They was like ahh, because they knew I beat him.”
Owens will return for the roast next week.
“I honestly have no idea [what to expect]. You know what, I have thick skin. I am subject to a lot of criticism. I am subject to what I put myself into to. And again, like I said, I’ve never been obviously the subject of a roast. I’ve kind of watched what roasts are all about and again for me, it’s just like my career. You have to take the good with the bad. I feel like I’ve grown to a point where I can look back and laugh at myself now,” Owens said.
The first annual Philly Sports Roast is Thursday, February 20th at 7pm at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia hosted by WIP’s Joe Conklin and Al Morganti. GET TICKETS HERE.